Nominees for the annual Austin Under 40 gala and awards ceremony have been announced, revealing some of the most innovative and hardest working young minds in the city. From design and culinary arts to technology and government service, these 70 young professionals represent the breadth and scope of Austin's professional landscape.
Austin Under 40 honors young Austinites for work within their businesses and the community. Young professionals are nominated in 14 categories, including new fields for entrepreneurship and environmental services. Notable names include Leon Chen of Tiff’s Treats, Ashley Clauer with Wanderlust Yoga, Mason Ayer of Kerbey Lane Café and BMX rider Aaron Ross.
The winners in each category will be announced at a star-studded awards gala at the JW Marriott on Saturday, March 7. One of these budding professionals will also be bestowed the title of "Austinite of the Year," joining previous winners like Colin Pope, Kendra Scott and Evan Smith.
This annual celebration also benefits the YWA Foundation and the YMBL Sunshine Camps, supporting their scholarship and summer camp programs for students.
The full list of Austin Under 40 nominees for 2015 is as follows:
Arts, Sports, Media & Entertainment: Matthew Hinsley, Austin Classical Guitar; Matt Swinney Fashion & Style Events, LLC; Laura Villagran-Johnson, KLRU-TV, Austin PBS, Austin Social Planner; Sally Hernandez, KXAN-TV; Aaron Ross, professional BMX rider
Community Service and Nonprofit: William Meredith, MFI Real Estate, Ax5 Resources; Angela-Jo Touza-Medina, Caritas of Austin; Amy Mills, Emancipet; Lonny Stern, Skillpoint Alliance; Hannah Nokes, EZCorp
Culinary Arts and Hospitality: Phillip Brown, Vince Young Steakhouse; Natalie Paramore, The Cameleon Group; Shaady Ghadessy, W Hotel; Allison Stevens, Prep Dish; Mason Ayer, Kerbey Lane Café
Energy, Cleantech and Environmental Services: Jose Beceiro, Cockrell School of Engineering, University of Texas at Austin; Michael Dadashi, MHD Enterprises/Infinite Recovery; Chad Blevins, The Butler Firm/GeoCF; Zeina El-Azzi, SUNEDISON, INC.; Tim Greeff, The National Security Technology Accelerator
Engineering, Architecture and Design: Keri Burchard-Juarez, City of Austin Public Works Department; Matt Fajkus, MF Architecture, University of Texas; Allison Jaffe, Allison Jaffe Interior Design; Stefan Molina Duncan, G. Stroik Architect; Matt Pickens, Beck
Entrepreneurship and Start-up: Leon Chen, Tiff’s Treats; Ashley Clauer, Wanderlust Yoga; Jessica Honegger, Noonday Collection; Ruben Cantu, The Core Media Enterprises; Pepper Ammann, Tidbits Media Group
Financial Services and Insurance: Blake Absher, BB&T; Rich Coffey, The Hay Legal Group; Brian May, Pioneer Bank, SSB; Adam Flagg, Upstream Investment Partners; Jonathan Levy, Oxbow Advisors, LLC
Government and Public Affairs: Gregorio Casar, Austin City Council; Gerardo Interiano, Google; Veronica Lara, City of Austin’s Small & Minority Business Resources Dept.; Matthew Giannini, U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Economic Development Admin.; Elizabeth Hadley, Greenberg Traurig, LLP
Legal: Kevin Terrazas, Weisbart Springer Hayes LLP; Evan Young, Baker Botts LLP; Carlos Romo, Baker Botts LLP; James Nortey, Duggins Wren; Sujata Ajmera, Jackson Lewis, PC
Marketing, PR and Advertising: Melissa Anthony Sinn, anthonyBarnum; Jennifer Gooding, Prime Tech PR; Jenna Oltersdorf, Snackbox; Maria Orozova, The MOD Studio; Jenifer Sarver, Sarver Strategies; Shilpa Bakre, ACVB; Ashley Beall, TRIBEZA; Brian Dolezal, Hahn Public Communications; Jennifer Gooding, Prime PR; Joy Shoffler, Leverage PR
Medicine, Healthcare and Sciences: Kate Henderson, Seton Healthcare Family; Sujit Iyer, Dell Children's Medical Center; Andrea Campaigne, Nurture; Shailee Gupta, St. David's Foundation – Dental Program; Christie Johnson, Communities in Schools Central Texas
Real Estate: Jason Crabtree, Premier Partners, LLC; Chris Skyles, SkylesBayne; Patrick Ley, ECR; Kristi Simmons, AQUILA Commercial; Jonny Rodgers, DEN Property Group
Technology and Science: Chelsea McCullough, Texans for Economic Progress; Luke Martinez, Bank of America; Todd Nienkerk, Four Kitchens; Jeffrey Palermo, Clear Measure, Inc.; Dustin Wells, Headspring; Guihua Yu, The University of Texas at Austin
Youth and Education: Matthew Abbott, Wayside Schools; Kerry Leeders-Moll, Intersection Education; Marisa Limon, LIMON CONSULTING; Eva Maria Garza-Nyer, Texas College Advisor; Teresa Granillo, Con Mi Madre
Mentor of the Year: Heather McKissick, UFCU; Mitch Jacobson, Austin Technology Incubator; Carol Thompson, The Thompson Group; Amber Carden, U.S. Trust/Bank of America Private Wealth Management; Gavin Villareal, Baker Botts LLP